Chaos Development

When you start a project of any kind do you start by typing something into a terminal or do you begin on a piece of paper? Many developers probably start by typing some stuff out but rarely, perhaps like our designer brethren, do we begin with analog tools. Why? Is it because developers feel more at home with a bunch of chicklet keys or do we generally have no use for sketching features out?

There is definitely a place for a great pen and piece of paper in the beginning and subsequent phases of software dev. Perhaps not to sketch things out logically but, to chaotically write features everywhere. Jot down table names, feature ideas, needed gems, future plans, whatever. The only rule being, never stay within the lines!

Find a notebook that is layed out in a dot-grid or a traditional line grid. This alone absolves the need to write everything down on a line starting from the left and moving to the right. You can start anywhere, and go anywhere which leaves your brain free to jot down anything and add to it later. This type of freedom is much more constrained when it comes to interacting with text using just a keyboard and mouse (yes, I am making an assumption that you don't have a fancy Cintiq).

The ability to be chaotic is priceless and something that should be cultivated during the entire life-cycle of any "software project". If you have never thought about grabbing a piece of paper and writing out things, give it a whirl. If you happen to be allergic to paper...well, then maybe take this advice with a grain of salt.